The Duke of Sussex was determined to make an impact before Prince George turned 18 because he feared he would become “irrelevant” after that, a new book claims.
Book in preparation by TimesRoyal correspondent Valentine Low claims Prince Harry was frustrated by his advisers “holding him back” when he wanted to be involved in the same areas as his brother, the Prince of Wales.
In an excerpt published in TimesLow spoke to members of the royal household for his book Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown and was reportedly told that Harry had a long-term “fear that his time was running out” while still a working royal.
He quotes an insider as saying, “He had that thing that had durability. He was fixed [on] this. He would compare himself to his uncle [Prince Andrew].
“He would say, ‘I have time to make this impression. Because I can’. Until George turned 18, he thought about it. “Then I’ll be a runner too. He really thought about it like, ‘I have this platform now, for a limited time. I want to move forward, move forward.'”
Efforts by the Duke’s staff to reassure him that he would have an impact in his later years if he “builds the right foundations today” did little to dispel his fears, the book claims.
Harry’s desire to cement his legacy in the same areas as Prince William “could lead to tension”, writes Low, claiming that some of his advisers “spent a lot of time talking him out of it … because it wouldn’t fit into the bigger picture of what all three – William, Kate and Harry – were trying to achieve”.
Low also claims that Harry had a deep “distrust of the courtiers at Buckingham Palace and his father’s palace”.
The Duke’s complaints about the British tabloid press are long-standing, but his “constant battles with the media” are said to have led to tensions with his own staff if he believed they were not on his side.
Low quotes a source as saying: “He used this phrase all the time, ‘palace syndrome’ when you won’t fight the battles he wants because you’ve been institutionalized.
“Giving to the media was a key indicator of whether you had developed it. It was a constant test of loyalty: ‘Do you want to protect me? Or have you just become one of them who won’t fight for me?’ It was exhausting.”
The new book, due out on October 6, also details interactions between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and palace staff during their time as working royals.
In March 2021, Buckingham Palace launched an investigation into allegations that Meghan had expelled two personal assistants.
Her lawyers denied the charges at the time they were filed. It was announced that the outcome of the investigation would be withheld to protect the anonymity of those who participated in the investigation.
Speaking on a BBC podcast in January, Meghan’s lawyer Jenny Afia said: “What bullying really means is the wrongful use of power repeatedly and deliberately to physically or emotionally harm someone.
“The Duchess of Sussex absolutely denies ever doing this. Knowing her as well as I do, I can’t believe she would ever do that. I wasn’t there at the time, but it doesn’t match my experience with her at all, and I saw her [at] very stressful times.
“So the story is absolutely untrue that she’s a bully – that is, she wouldn’t want to negate someone’s personal experience.”
The Independent has contacted representatives of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for comment.
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